The Internet is today’s public pulpit demanding our constant attention. Every minute of every day sixty minutes of content are uploaded to You Tube for world wide consumption. The global village has arrived but who has any time to evaluate. Experience, enjoy, go faceless. Not to worry, the cloud gives us eternal life. Welcome to the digital age.
But what about content? What are we getting back for our time? What are we seeing through the Internet glass darkly? In many cases, not much. A lot of reruns on Hulu, cheap videos on You Tube, and those ubiquitous banners that disrupt and oppress legitimate thought. Pick your poison. Porn or violence. For thinking ourselves such enlightened animals, we pick the the low road more often than not. It’s enough to make an optimist whine.
The goal of the Immigrant Garden student project was to change that and awaken in the young to the awesome power the Internet offers us to do many positive actions a myriad of simple ways.
The Immigrant Garden did not garner an Academy award. It did not gain financial success, nor critical acclaim. It failed in every way possible when compared to what the world considers success, but we got something better. We wanted to make a video movie that gave young people the ability to speak to others with positive public voices about the importance of simplicity. How a student production moved from a “race and chase” gun picture to a G rated family film was the reward. I was not me, but the young people in my media literacy class, who ultimately picked a script and story that was anything but violent. It proves violence in media is not necessary to keep young people going to the movies. Their choice proved media literacy can change the way we think about media, and with that we teach simplicity of thought, empowering the young to speak clearly to others.
In 2005 The Immigrant Garden aired on Comcast PPV in Seattle, WA and won 3.2% of the PPV audience. Although the film never found distribution after that it accomplished the goals we hoped it would.
The Immigrant Garden
Raised over 26,000 from charity screenings to help the United Way, Women of Domestic Violence, the Animal Shelter, the Southwest Washington Ballet Company, and the Multiple sclerosis foundation .
We helped two teenagers off drugs and out of jail and gave one woman a career as a sound editor. One student in the program, a polo victim, lost her anxiety of meeting new people after editing several community service videos. She later went on to managing the editing room for the film.
Another student with so little self-confidence, she could not look people in the eye. She felt too dumb to speak in groups. She worked eventually as a foley editor, and from that experience she found enough courage to attend college. She now holds a masters degree and works in Seattle, WA.
An eighth grader wanted to learn about the Internet and built our 1999 website. He now makes a living helping others build websites, makes You Tube videos, and works in computer tech. These are but a few of the accomplishments of the Immigrant Garden project. We are proud to have shared this venture with them.
HOME MADE EQUIPMENT
IMMIGRANT GARDEN CAST AND CREW